The Liberals and Conservatives are expressing no enthusiasm for trying to secure the release of British-Canadian Jack Letts, dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the British media, from prison in Syria following word that London has revoked his citizenship. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says Letts should remain locked up. Scheer is shown in this Aug. 14, 2019 File photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michael Bell

Conservative Leader Scheer won’t ‘lift finger’ to bring ‘Jihadi Jack’ to Canada

About 190 people with connections to Canada are suspected of terrorist activity abroad

Neither the governing Liberals nor the Opposition Conservatives expressed enthusiasm Monday for trying to secure the release of the overseas prisoner dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the British media.

Questions once again emerged about the fate of Jack Letts, the British-Canadian man held in a Kurdish jail in Syria, following word that London recently revoked his citizenship.

Letts’ father John has said his son, who still holds Canadian citizenship, went to Syria to help create a peaceful Muslim state and was never involved in violence perpetrated by the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

According to John Letts, the Kurds expressed willingness last year to hand his son over to Canadian authorities. He has also said Global Affairs Canada told the family for months that it was working to get their son released but that the department then decided it was too dangerous.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says Letts should remain locked up.

“Jihadi Jack is in prison now and that is where he should stay,” Scheer said Monday in a statement. “A Conservative government under my leadership will not lift a finger to bring him back to Canada.”

READ MORE: Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau needs to explain to Canadians “why he and his government worked so hard to bring him here,” Scheer added.

Asked Monday if he would welcome Letts to Canada, Trudeau would only say it is a crime to travel internationally with the aim of supporting terrorism. “And that is a crime that we will continue to make all attempts to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law. That is the message we have for Canadians and for anyone involved.”

The Canadian government expressed disappointment Sunday that the United Kingdom had moved to “off-load their responsibilities” by stripping Letts’ British citizenship.

“Terrorism knows no borders, so countries need to work together to keep each other safe,” the federal statement said.

“Investigating, arresting, charging and prosecuting any Canadian involved in terrorism or violent extremism is our primary objective. They must be held accountable for their actions.”

The government added that while it is aware of Canadian citizens detained in Syria, there is no legal obligation to facilitate their return. “We will not expose our consular officials to undue risk in this dangerous part of the world.”

In June, Trudeau expressed confidence in the RCMP to investigate Canadians who travelled to fight alongside extremists in Iraq and Syria.

He said the Mounties and intelligence agencies in Canada and abroad face the difficult challenge of presenting the information they gather in court as evidence of crimes.

The government is ensuring Canadian agencies have the necessary resources and opportunities to collaborate with foreign allies on such cases, he added.

The latest annual federal report on extremism says some 190 people with connections to Canada are suspected of terrorist activity abroad and, in addition, approximately 60 have returned.

The activities of these Canadians in various countries could involve front-line fighting, training, logistical support, fundraising or studying at extremist-influenced schools.

A small number of the 60 returnees have come back from Turkey, Iraq or Syria but many who remain abroad now lack valid travel documents, find themselves on a no-fly list or fear being arrested on Canadian soil.

Jim Bronskill , The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Construction to start on Okanagan Landing Road

Traffic disruptions may result of new sanitary system installation

Jail time for North Okanagan break and enter

Man involved in break in with ties to fatal February shooting to serve 46 months

Vernon ‘cartoon band-aid lady’ turns 100

Betty Ladyman used to hand out band-aids with cartoons to kids getting needles at VJH or lab

Vernon cowboy captures world championship buckle

Jaret Cooper, 16, from VSS, wins novice saddle bronc event at Junior World Finals rodeo in Las Vegas

Kelowna Salvation Army sees increase in toy, cash donations

The Tiny Tim Charity Toy Breakfast started its 19th year Thursday morning

Jurassic World 3 will film in Metro Vancouver under working title Arcadia

Filming is set to take place between Feb. 24 and March 6, 2020

Time to celebrate Christmas Cowboy Style with Double Stop Creek & Friends in Penticton

The B.C.-based country band will be joined by additional musicians at Penticton’s Elk’s Lodge

Strata rental bans escape B.C. speculation tax through 2021, Carole James says

Vacant home tax won’t apply to cabins accessible only by water

South Okanagan elderly accident victim ‘a tough customer’

Penticton Fire Department crews rescue elderly man who rolled his ATV down an embankment

LETTER: No one wins with private care

Dear Editor, Day’s team argues that the public health-care system is a… Continue reading

WATCH: Eyewitness captures moment truck slams into Tim Hortons in Kelowna

A pickup truck crashed into the front a Tim Hortons in Rutland causing a small fire on Monday night

LETTER: Keep bucks in the community

Shop Local! Start Now!! Here are some recent experiences which show how… Continue reading

Most Read